Sweet Salutations on Beltane. Merry May Day!
A day that involves flowers – you know how easily I can get behind that.
The first of May has been celebrated for millennia. The ancient Romans celebrated Flora, their goddess of flowers; and most often the emphasis of May Day celebrations is springtime fertility rites.
May Day/Beltane (or the night before) is celebrated as a cross-quarter holiday, half-way between the equinox and solstice. Often components of dancing and bonfires are included in festivals. At one time all the household fires were doused and then re-lit from the community bonfire. There’s something about that image that really appeals to me. Starting anew after a good Spring cleaning and connecting with community through a shared resource.
It’s also suggested that at this time the veil between the worlds is thin. But rather than having easier access to the ancestors as is true at the cross-quarter of Samhain, this is the time to peek into the faery world and commune with Nature spirits.
I also love the much-later tradition of May Day baskets filled with flowers and left anonymously on neighbor’s doorsteps. In this time of sequestering, wouldn’t it be an especially lovely thing to leave some flowers? Alas my garden is rather bare at the moment – the flowers have been slow to wake this year. However, today the first tree on the block burst into bud in that fabulous only-in-Spring shade of green. Beltane magic indeed!
May Day also is celebrated as International Workers’ Day and I’m proud to be a member of a family that has worked hard to promote fair labor practices and workers’ rights. It would be wonderful if we emerged from this period of global sequestering where it is so glaringly obvious how dependent we are on often unseen and usually underappreciated workers with a new commitment to equity and justice, and safe and compassionate working conditions for all.
As we start a new month, I’m welcoming these words from Hafiz:
”Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence. It is time for celebration, not for lying low; You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.”
I’m allowing my heart to be open to the magic of this time, understanding it’s looking different than before. And isn’t that really part of the magic? Inviting ourselves to see with new eyes. To appreciate in new ways,
Beltane has certainly always been a celebration associated with love. Love of all kinds – romantic of course, but also platonic, between family, between friends. Today is definitely a good day to reflect on all the love that exists in your life, express gratitude in whatever ways feel wonderful to you, and ponder all the ways you’ll commit to nurturing and growing love in all its forms.
How will you celebrate this first day of the a new month? What energy are you inviting in? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Lovely. Happy May Day!
Sending you a virtual May Day basket Candace. 🙂
After the A to Z hectic pace I am looking forward to a little stop and smell the roses pace. Beautiful pictures.
Sounds like the perfect pace Janet. I’m both needing a recovery slowdown, while simultaneously being so inspired by things and projects I want to devote time to.
A favorite of my stepdad, he always shared on Beltane. It’s my favorite, too, and perfectly expresses my love of being outdoors in Nature, and if ever I would create one, I would include it in my personal manifesto:
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire, 1894
Beannachtaí sona Beltane duit! (Happy Beltane blessings to you!)
Oh that’s lovely Pattie – no wonder it’s a favorite! And thank you for the beautiful blessing. Have a most wonderful day!
I used to love leaving flowers on people’s doorsteps, and wish I could do that again. I seem to remember preparing bouquets for my parents in school–perhaps of paper? May 1 is European Labor Day, so when I taught we sometimes took the day off from the book and did fun things. My current tradition for the 1st of each month is to share the picture and quote from my Mountain Men of Alaska calendar. 🙂 The guy from May needed some censoring, but the quote is, “The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.” -Irish proverb
I like that teaching practice Margaret, although perhaps for us now a day spent with a book would be considered fun. 🙂 The calendar proverb is hilarious, and perfect for Beltane.
Your comment about paper flowers as a kid made me think about a bouquet of origami flowers I made out of a beautiful translucent paper in poppy reds. If I had thought of it earlier I could have made some paper flowers and left them as secret hellos. Perhaps another time. In any case, wishing you a fresh month filled with unexpected wonderful delights.
I like this time of year. Growth is in the air. I’ll be planting some posies and herbs this weekend, weather permitting. May 1st seems to flip the switch on my can do attitude. I won’t be dancing around a May Pole however. I have my limits. 😎
What kind of can-do attitude is that Ally, if you’re not willing to dance around the May Pole? 🙂
But I agree, I find May filled with encouraging promise. We’re supposed to have a lovely weekend here as well, and I’m hoping to get some yard work done. May your posies grow bright and your herbs delicious.
May has arrived and for me, at least, there is some sap rising within – the anticipation of respite may have something to do with it! I was presented with two lovely vases for my birthday last week, by my father’s neighbour, and she had assembled random cuttings from her garden. Riotous colour and form and the lift in my heart from watching these each day as they remain surprisingly vibrant is beyond measure. Thank you for adding more flowers to my week!! YAM xx
Belated birthday wishes Yamini. The flowers (and vases) sound lovely, and I’m delighted you’re in for some respite. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
Happy May Day! I’m enjoying azaleas in our yard.
Oh how lovely Joy!
I’m celebrating my progress in things I want to improve, but also allowing myself grace if the pace isn’t what I wanted. I’m here where I am for a reason! I’m inviting in not only like energy to mine, but also suffering, too. I want to help absorb that for someone, allow them the room to reset and regain their own foothold. We could all use a hand at times, right? It’s been wonderful to be here again!
I celebrate your attitude Eli – and the kindness, the strength, and the generosity you always display. Indeed we could all use a hand sometimes, and may we always be open to both giving and receiving.
I’ve just ordered some secateurs! I’m really enjoying having a well-stocked garden – and it’s bursting into life – but I have a lot to learn about how to take care of it.
Oh what a fun task ahead of you Kathleen. Having your own garden will be a treat. Enjoy!
Hi dear Deborah,
After weeks of ‘roller-coast-moments’, picking up my own pace and rhythm again.
I noticed I missed yet again one of your wonderful A-Z series, which saddens me a bit…however, I’m learning to accept ‘what is’.
Beautiful post, as usual…dancing and bonfires… I like that custom 🙂
Sending a big hug again, with lots of love,
Sending hugs and love to you as well Patty. I’m just surfacing myself after one of those proverbial roller-coaster dips, and it seems May has slipped away so quickly.
Flowers are real magic…. the way they can brighten up spaces and days!
They are magical indeed, and may you always be surrounded by them.
Happy May Day to you.
I am only eleven days late but I was busy doing May things that you allude to in your post; unknowingly but perhaps that thinner veil between our worlds and theirs was guiding me:)
Neem flowers came into their fullness of bloom in our garden as soon as April ended, almost on cue!
I have been harvesting them and despite the social distancing, have managed to drop off bunches/baskets to two dear friends.
After reading your post, it seems to me that I became a ready participant in age old May day celebrations organically.
Thank you for sharing Hafiz…his words are always a balm. Reading them, puts me in mind of a Faiz ghazal that I feel you’ll like to listen to as it is all about spring. The subtitles will help you enter his garden.
Stay safe and may this May be full of blooms for you: O lover of flowers. xx
Thank you for your kind wishes Arti, and I extend them to you as well. I apologize for not responding in a more timely fashion, but somehow May has slipped away from me. Luckily it left some lovely flower petals in its wake. Your neem blossoms sound lovely, and how wonderful you got to share their magic with friends. And thank you for sharing the video – it’s pure delight. I’ve bookmarked it and will certainly be returning often.
May your garden continue to delight. My peonies are beginning to bud and can’t wait until they unfurl all their frilly beauty.